Another Retired Racehorse Success Story

Like many retired athletes, racehorses often go on to live very exciting lives. Retired racehorse Purest Form, or as owner Stephanie Neises, an accomplished equine rider and the Compliance Administrator for the Minnesota Racing Commission likes to call him, Avicii, is still a very active horse.

Purest Form was foaled in Kentucky in 2009 and went on to race at tracks across the United States. He started his career at Saratoga in 2011, before breaking his maiden three races later at Gulfstream Park. He was later claimed by Bob Lindgren and trained by Mac Robertson. In 2015 Lindgren and Robertson made the decision to retire Purest Form from racing. He completed his career, with 40 lifetime starts and $129,719 in earnings, at Canterbury Park.

The dark bay gelding went on to spend several months at Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption in Rhame, North Dakota, which is operated by Dr. Richard Bowman.

Purest Form, named Avicii after one of Neises’ favorite musicians and the concept of “new starts”, came into her life on a snowy Valentine’s Day in 2016.

“The decision had been made to retire my unraced thoroughbred Magnum from the show ring and I needed a new mount if I wanted to continue showing. Dr. Lynn Hovda had mentioned that she knew of the perfect horse for me. She said he was “tall, dark and handsome”. I trusted her completely and haven’t been disappointed. Avicii is smart, athletic, sensitive, and beyond eager to please. He has taken to dressage, freestyle groundwork, and loves going out for trail rides in the woods. At 17 hands, he’s a big guy, but don’t let his size scare you! He frequently gives “pony” rides to children and dazzles them with his puppy-dog attitude.”

Neises explains that Thoroughbreds are one of the most versatile horses who “can go from the show ring one weekend to trail riding the next day and they don’t bat an eye about it,” she said.

Owners like Neises, who give retired racehorses a chance, create a sense of trust that is important for all animals to have. “Once you win the trust and affection of a thoroughbred, they’ll give you the world,” said Neisis.

To find out more about Dr. Bowman’s rehabilitation and adoption services, please visit: http://www.bowmanthoroughbredadoption.com/

by Rebecca Roush

Minnesota Racing Commission Awards $46,000 for Racehorse Repurposing and Retirement

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (October 20, 2017) – The Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC) authorized disbursement of $46,000 to three 501(c)(3) non-profit racehorse adoption, retirement and repurposing organizations at its August meeting. The recipients include: Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoptions, This Old Horse and Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. These new funds were generated by legislation passed in 2015 to direct fines collected via rulings issued at Canterbury Park and Running Aces to a special revenue fund supporting racehorse adoption, retirement and repurposing.

Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption (BSCTA) located in Rhame, N.D. will receive $40,000. BSCTA gives retired racehorses a safe-haven for rehabilitation and a second chance at a new adoptive home. They have taken horses from off the track for the past nineteen years. “This money is much appreciated, it will go a long way to help the horses,” said Dr. Richard Bowman the founder of BSCTA. “We currently have over 100 horses, and this money will really boost the program. I am grateful that the Minnesota Racing Commission considered my non-profit.”

This Old Horse located in Hastings, Minn. will receive $5,400. They take aged and unwanted horses and act as a “retirement refuge.” The non-profit is a certified rescue that helps aid abused, abandoned and neglected horses. This Old Horse has 110 Minnesota-raced horses in their care.

Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program located in Farmington, N.Y. will receive $1,000. The purpose of this non-profit is to help racehorses whose racing careers were over. Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program can house up to 16 Thoroughbred horses. They have helped over 400 Thoroughbred horses find new homes and careers, including horses that raced in Minnesota.

Applications for funding were reviewed by a Commission Committee consisting of three commissioners, the MRC Chief Veterinarian and MRC Staff. Criteria for funding included documentation of 501(c)(3) status, an established board of directors, and availability of site visits performed by an equine veterinarian. Facilities were required to have adequate shelter and pasture turnout, access to clean water, and safe fencing. Preference was given to organizations that have taken or will take horses who have raced at Minnesota racetracks. The MRC Commissioners approved the final decision at their August 16th meeting.

For more information on these 501(c)(3) non-profits visit their websites:

BSCTA: http://www.bowmanthoroughbredadoption.com/home.html

This Old Horse: http://www.thisoldhorse.org/

Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program: http://www.fltap.org/about-us/

The Minnesota Racing Commission was established to regulate horse racing and card playing in Minnesota; to ensure that it is conducted in the public interest, and to take all necessary steps in ensuring the integrity of racing and card playing in Minnesota thus promoting the breeding of race horses in order to stimulate agriculture and rural agribusiness. More information can be found at www.mrc.state.mn.us.

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Dr. Bowman’s Inn Filling Fast

Richard Bowman DVM 7-13-13It’s like trying to remove sand that slides back into the hole after being piled at the edge. Sometimes it’s even worse, like trying to bail out a boat that is filling with water faster than it can be removed.

The effort we speak of here belongs to Dr. Dick Bowman, whose pastures sometimes fill with retired racehorses at his North Dakota equine orphanage faster than he can find new homes for them. Dr. Bowman has a ranch in Bowman, (no relation) N.D., on which he currently has 59 thoroughbreds that once raced at Canterbury Park.

Find a nice spot for one and another one retires. Find nice homes for two, and three retire.

Sort of like walking on a treadmill. Lots of effort and hard work without gaining any actual ground.

“The most I’ve ever had is 80-some last fall,” he said. Up until three years ago I was able to clean out a year’s supply within a year and then start over. Last year I wasn’t able to do that. Then I took another 42 out there and moved another eight or 10 back here. We really worked at finding homes for them this winter.”

Sort of like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul sometimes.

Yet that’s the nature of the racehorse business as the good doctor well knows.

He was mulling over what he would say to a gathering of potential horse owners the other day and carrying on another conversation at the same time.

The two subjects were related nonetheless.

Both had to do with horses naturally. Both had to do with making a decision once a horse’s racing days were done.

That might be five years after buying the animal, six years, maybe even seven or eight. It might also be no longer than six months, as he’s witnessed on more than once occasion.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say,” he said.”We’ll see what I can come up with. Sometimes my mind just rambles.”

Bowman was scheduled to speak to the group and intended to inform these future owners about the responsibilities of owning racehorses not only when they are on the racetrack but after their racing days are over.

Bowman had to conduct a balancing act with whatever he said. After all he was speaking at the request of the Minnesota HBPA and TOBA whose intentions were to convince people that owning racehorses is a pleasurable and entertaining pursuit.

“I’ll be talking to people about what their options are,” he said.”I usually speak off the cuff. I ramble.”

Nonetheless, he knew his bullet points.

“I’ll tell them what to expect with a thoroughbred when it retires,” he said. “What the options are at my place. Other things they should be looking at as prospective thoroughbred owners, what they’re going to do with the horses when they’re done racing.”

Many people haven’t given those topics much thought.

“They haven’t thought about what they’re going to do if a horse cracks a sesamoid,” he said. “Some owners have the wherewithal to keep a horse on their farm when he’s done racing, but most don’t. These are living, breathing creatures that we need to take care of, not a used tissue that you simply throw away.”

Bowman and Dr. Lynn Hovda, the Minnesota Racing Commission’s chief veterinarian, are constantly on the lookout for good homes for the retired thoroughbreds they come across. It is another matter with quarter horses when they retire.

For one thing, at Canterbury Park anyway, there are fewer quarter horses than thoroughbreds, but the Qs, as they’re known in the press box and beyond, are in short supply nonetheless. “There seems to be a big market for speed horses,” said Bowman.”The barrel racers and rodeo people are always looking for them. There’s an active market. You can’t hardly find them.”

Bowman and Hovda have placed hundreds of horses with good homes in the past. As they continue to point out, it’s an ongoing, never finished task.

Bowman has given plenty of talks before, but the one he gave on Saturday was a first. “Most of my talks have been about what vets do on the backside,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve spoken directly to this issue. I’ll tell them what they can do. We want to instill in them a thought process about the horse when he goes out of the racing business.”

There is some relief developing in the operation of Bowman’s massive undertaking that goes far beyond merely taking a horse from Canterbury to the western reaches of North Dakota. It costs anywhere from $200 to $300 for each horse he ships, and as we’ve seen some are shipped to North Dakota and then back again when homes are located in the Twin Cities area.

Bowman also just returned from Bowman to Shakopee after putting in a couple of weeks haying for the upcoming feed requirements as well as vaccinating and worming the horses on his ranch.

Now, a group has developed and will soon have a website available to assist in finding homes for his horses.

“This group of ladies has gotten real good at ferreting out people who are looking for horses,” Bowman said.

“They’ve moved seven for me this spring already.” The group comprises a number of Bowman’s clients for whom he does dental work on their animals and is calling itself the “Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption.”

Thoroughbreds looking for a second chance are plentiful. Adoptive parents are not.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.